SAN DIEGO, CA — For JustScore Magazine the MCFFU San Diego Open marks our one year anniversary of covering recreational flag football. In the last twelve months, we’ve seen the decline of powerhouses, the imbalance in competition between East Coast and West Coast 8 Man Flag Football and the Rise of a Dynasty in Extreme Odds. In celebration of that year and the excitement for the year to come were bringing you a new way in which we are presenting our previews. With JustScore Mag now being the first ever Interactive Digital Publication we will be looking to bring all you flag football enthusiast the most interactive experience.
The 2016 MCFFU Open will once again feature a visiting team hailing from the eastern seaboard in Georgia United. Georgia United, who previously competed as a competitive/B Division team in USFTL Tournaments has come west and won the comp title at the MCFFU World Championships and quickly graduated to take the Premier Flag Football Federations Best of the Best Tournament Title. Georgia United will be looking to compete against the best that the West will have in attendance at this year’s San Diego Open. The Bay Kings will return to the S.D. Open as the favorite and will do so with a roster that will be stacked. The Kings are loaded as they’ll push to make a championship run for the next twelve months.
UFB and NAS will both be in attendance adding immense value. UFB is the defending MCFFU National Champion, while NAS is the only team to have legitimately appeared to defeat the reigning Extreme Odds before the controversy between two opposing players broke out and ended their semi-final match at the MCFFU World Championships. Anthony Whitney will be looking to lead UFB on a smooth path to the title game with their wide open spread offense, while NAS, who mirrors UFB, will be loaded as they’ll be the lone San Deigo team in attendance. The Long Beach All-Stars will be in attendance flying under the moniker Box 22. The All-Stars have been inconsistent in the last twelve months. As the team goes through an age transition they’ve seemed vulnerable by providing lackluster performances. The All-Stars are one of the West Coast most respected teams, and we’ll be looking for them to use the S.D. Open as an opportunity to return to form.
We’ve broken down the top six match-ups on Saturday.
9am | Bay Kings vs. BallHawks
The match between Bay Kings and Ball Hawks is quickly turning into a rivalry game. A year ago to the date the Ball Hawks bested the Bay Kings tearing their secondary to shreds. The favour would be returned at the MCFFU Nationals where the Bay Kings proved that the two teams are not on the same level; however, between the two teams stands a 1-1 record. The David Clements couldn’t have picked a better match-up to open the Tournament of Champions so how do these two teams fair.
When the Bay Kings take the field, they do so like a group of consummate professionals. A well-oiled machine, the Bay King’s offense will click on all cylinders. With one of the most prolific receiving cores in Antione Haynes, Antwan Brown, and with the addition of Paul Sampson the Kings will have the fastest receiving core in the tournament.
Defensive has been the Achilles hill for the Bay Kings, but with the recent merger with the Sac Wolfpack, the Kings will be a formidable force on both sides of the ball. The combination of speed, size and physical play will make the King a force to handle.
The BallHawks are a group of talented young guys who make noise whenever they take the field; however, they find themselves coming up short in the big game. Last year the Hawks would be sent home by AMC, who would also defeat them in Game 1 at the MCFFU World Championships. In the two tournaments, the BallHawks have displayed a lack of discipline resorting to fighting whenever faced against physical defenses. The Hawks run an efficient spread offense, but the lack of leadership has made them look fragmented and ineffective in their last Major NIT showings.
The Ballhawks will need to sure up their pass rush. At the MCFFU World Championships, the BallHawk defense could not put pressure against anyone. Since the MCFFU Open last year they’ve added players to their secondary; however, the lack of true defenders, as opposed to athletes playing in the secondary, will leave them susceptible to offenses who have elite receivers.
10am Georgia United vs. BallHawks
With all of the recent Facebook chatter, this game has quickly stolen the show and become the game of the weekend. We’re expecting emotions to run high and for this to be one of the most exciting games of the weekend.
The Georgia United Offense will be lead by Will Franklin a former Major League Pitcher who has a rocket for an arm. Schematically GU runs a DC style offense with a deep QB and athletic blocking backs who could give defenses schematic challenges. On the edge, GU has a pair of bookend that can pill the lid off of a defense. Brandon “Champ” Jones and Jordan Ainey are two blazers that will challenge the BallHawk secondary.
The GU defense is the strength of their teams and reason why after being formed only weeks before attending the MCFFU World Championships they walked away with a Comp title, followed by a Best of the Best Pro Championships within a three month period. GU will field one of the most tenacious pass rushing duo’s in Victor Harris and Styhl’s Driscoll.
After a 0-2 start against East Coast teams, the BallHawks will have an opportunity to save face and pride if the defeat Georgia United. The BallHawks have the skill and talent to so and with their wide-open spread offense the utilisation of their center will open the game up and create mismatches that could potentially exploit the GU defense.
The BallHawks will need to play a brand of football that they’re not accustomed to. Las Vegas isn’t typically known for playing the most physical brand of Flag Football, but against Georgia United they’ll need to step out of their comfort zone.
11am Bay Kings vs. Georgia United
Bay Kings versus Georgia United is the game of the tournament. After a poor outing at the MCFFU World Championships, the National perception is that the West Coast pro division is at best equivalent to the East Coast B/Comp division. If anyone has a say so in that debate, it will be the Bay Kings, as Georgia United is a combination of Pro Players, but a team who has only competed at the comp Division on the East Coast. The Bay Kings are widely viewed as being the most consistent elite team on the West Coast in the last twenty-four months. A former MCFFU World Champion, the Bay Kings, will have the weight of a Coast on their shoulders.
In most games, the Bay Kings fly by defenders, but against Georgia United, there may be a more balanced matchup, which means the details will become defining factors. Pristine route running and timing will be the name of the game as there will be very few breakout plays or bust coverages.
One of GU’s attributed that they’ll look to fall back on is they physical ability to impose their will; however, the Bay Kings are no push over. The Kings are unlike any team as they have Size and Speed across the board. Defensively the Kings will have shutdown Corner Glenndale Lefort who stands at 6’2, 210lbs with world class track speed a defender who will likely be matched against GU’s best receiver. GU will need to scheme around Lefort as he has a reputation for creating multiple turnovers.
4pm NAS vs. UFB
In April, at the MCFFU World Championships, both NAS and UFB stood as the only two teams to give the undisputed No.1 team Extreme Odds problems. In both matches, the game came down to the wire. UFB and NAS are mirrored images of each other. Both teams have skilled Quarterbacks who can make big plays with both their arms and legs and both teams run a spread offense that will exhaust the lungs of any defense.
Nas will have an edge in this if Maurice Douglas makes the roster again. The Texan speedster also has world-class track speed and is a game breaker when he gets the ball in his hands. NAS being the lone home team, we’re expecting them to be loaded with the best of the best that San Diego has to offer.